A flag-raising ceremony was held on Tuesday at the military port in south-central Khanh Hoa Province for the last two of six Kilo-class submarines that Vietnam has bought from Russia.
The ceremony, held at Cam Ranh Military Base in Khanh Hoa, saw the welcoming of Russian-made Kilo-class submarines HQ-186 Da Nang and HQ-187 Ba Ria-Vung Tau, into the fleet of Vietnam’s Submarine Brigade 189.
The submarines are the last of six Kilo-class submarines that Vietnam contracted to buy from Russia during former Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to the country in 2009.
Under the terms of the agreement, worth nearly US$2 billion, all six submarines are to be built at the Russian Navy’s Admiralty Verfi Shipyard before being delivered to Vietnam.
The first sub, HQ-182 Hanoi, was delivered to Cam Ranh military port on December 31, 2013.
Subsequent deliveries for HQ-183 Ho Chi Minh City, HQ-184 Hai Phong, and HQ-185 Khanh Hoa were made during 2014 and 2015.
Monday’s ceremony was attended by Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc, senior military officials and provincial leaders, as well as representatives from the Russian shipyard responsible for the build.
“[The modernization of our military] is for the sole purpose of safeguarding peace, not because we want to be part of an arms race,” PM Phuc stressed.
“Naval officers and soldiers vow to overcome any difficulty and stand ready to take on missions, fight and die to protect every inch of land and sea in our country,” Rear Admiral Pham Hoai Nam, commander of the Vietnam People’s Navy, said in his remarks.
The Kilo-class submarines are dubbed the “Black Hole” thanks to their near-silent operation.
Each of the submarines measures 73.8 meters long and are 9.9 meters wide, have a displacement of between 3,000 and 3,950 metric tons and an operation range of between 6,000 and 7,500 nautical miles.
The submarines can carry 52 people at one time, move at 20 nautical miles per hour, or 37 kilometers per hour, and operate at a depth of 300 meters for 45 days straight without resurfacing.